School of Law News
Professor Lisa Ramsey Discusses Social Media's Dark Side
It’s hard to remember how we all kept in touch before the advent of the Internet and electronic communication that has been born from it. While email is still the standard, it has dipped in popularity by the birth of social media tools that take communicating to a whole new level. We can’t seem to go a day without hearing about Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs — the majority of corporations, non-profits, academic institutions and even the government have recognized this fact and established a social networking presence to further develop their presence and to maintain their relevance in the most dynamic, global business environment humankind has ever seen.
While social media tools can be leveraged effectively by companies to further their brands, advertise their products, and promote their services, they also represent the proverbial double-edged sword: imposters can create unauthorized social media representations that can tarnish a company’s brand image. Often dubbed “brandjacking,” this phenomenon represents a very real threat to a company’s carefully cultivated reputation. The law, constantly trying to keep pace with technological and societal advancements, is still largely unsettled in this arena.
Lisa Ramsey, a professor of law at the University of San Diego School of Law, is one of the pioneers in brandjacking legal scholarship. Ramsey has spent the last semester in Australia as a visiting scholar at Melbourne Law School at the University of Melbourne, where she did research on Australian trademark and free speech law. At the request of the University’s Centre for Media and Communications Law, Ramsey presented her paper, “Brandjacking on Social Networks: Trademark Infringement by Impersonation of Markholders” in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia.
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